Our fall nonprofit partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of New England is wrapping up on Sunday, September 15th. But before the end of the partnership, we want to share one more story from a very special Mighty Well Team member – Holly Childs!
Thank you Holly for sharing your story with the Mighty Well community! There is still one more day to support Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of New England! Purchase your New Day t-shirt and Undefeated cap today!
When I was 11 years old, I remember calling my mom into the bathroom to tell her something was wrong. Despite trying to hide her fear, a decade of experience told me my mom was very concerned. She played it off and told me we’d call the doctor in the morning. A few weeks later, I was laying on the exam table, recoiling at every poke, and my skin cringing at the rough texture of the white sterile paper I’d soon come to know so well. The bright fluorescent lights paired well with the interrogation the doctor seemed to be performing. When did you start feeling these symptoms? [A few months ago]. About how much blood are you seeing after you go? [I… I don’t know how to estimate that.] Why didn’t you bring it up sooner? [Um, because I’m 11 and I had no idea this wasn’t normal…] I left the office feeling like I’d done something bad – I had kept it to myself for a few months thinking it wasn’t something serious. And, luckily for me, at that time, it wasn’t all that serious yet. I was diagnosed with proctitis, something I was told could heal, but could also develop into a more serious illness if left untreated. Before I knew it I was taking 9 pills a day.
A year or so later I had a sudden onset of worse symptoms. I was in the bathroom anywhere from 10-17 times a day, and my skin tone soon resembled that sterile white paper that agitated me so on the day of my diagnosis. I was losing blood; a lot of it. This time it took me just a couple of days to voice that something was wrong. We headed into the emergency room and the nurses were thankful I made this decision to share my illness a lot faster than last time. I was put on a feeding tube, and wasn’t allowed anything by mouth for 30 days. I was diagnosed with C. Difficile, an infection that meant my proctitis had turned to full-blown colitis and I would have to be quarantined until I tested negative.
Each day seemed longer than the last. I seemed to be getting worse. I had to have a blood transfusion to replace all that I had lost. I was put on steroids, something that would come to claim the livelihood of my joints and further extend the size of my already chubby cheeks. And while this was a dark time in my thirteen-year-old life, it’s the happier moments that I remember the most from the experience. My mom staying with me every night I was there. The nurse who sat with me as I begrudgingly had yet another doctor try to get my IV into my dehydrated veins. The doctor who greeted me with a “Good Morning, Sunshine!” every time he entered my quarantined room.
It was the light that helped me get through each day. And whether my health was having a good day or a bad day, I was happy to be there at the start of every new day. A new day meant the possibility of getting rid of the infection. A new day meant it might be the day my doctor tells me my ulcers looks better than the in the last colonoscopy. A new day meant so many possibilities.
Now, a new day to me means I’ve been given another chance to make an impression on the world. A new day means I’m grateful for every moment of remission I have. A new day means that as Mighty Well’s social media manager and graphic designer, I get to be inspired by all of the incredible people in the Mighty Well community who share their stories. A new day means I get to share my story for the first time (ever!). A new day hopefully means we’re one step closer to the treatments and cures we all long for.
What does a new day mean to you?